Business professionals can prepare themselves for leadership roles in administration by advancing their understanding of business practices. To this end, an online Master of Business Administration curriculum is tailored to provide students with the skills they need to effectively manage the professional scenarios that they may face in the future. In addition to exposing students to advanced business concepts, an online MBA curriculum also gives business professionals the opportunity to specialize in a range of different degree concentrations, such as accounting, management, marketing, sport and entertainment management, and process and project management.
Skills, Concepts, or Opportunities Gained with an MBA Degree
MBA programs may offer students the chance to develop or explore a range of different skills, concepts, and opportunities, such as:
- Professional Networking. Making professional connections is essential to the career of a business professional. Regularly participating in online MBA classes and group assignments are a great opportunity for students to sharpen their ability to network and build relationships with other business-minded individuals. As they learn the basic principles of developing cohesive networks amongst their colleagues, MBA students can gain hands-on practice in using professional networking as a means of exposing themselves to advantageous career opportunities.
- Technical Proficiency. Advanced occupations in many business disciplines, such as finance and marketing, often require the frequent use of complex software applications. Therefore, MBA students are taught how to navigate the common software platforms that they may encounter throughout their careers. By building up experience using a variety of different applications, business professionals can develop a fundamental understanding of how different software platforms function, thereby allowing them to adapt quickly if an employer switches to a new system or if they move to a new job that uses an unfamiliar platform.
- Finance Management and Accounting. The financial skills obtained through MBA classes can be used to enter a finance-oriented occupation or simply to supplement a non-finance-related role. Even if finance is not their specialization, all advanced business professionals should have at least a basic understanding of industry standard financial practices. This is necessary because a greater understanding of how the financial aspects of business function can provide professionals with a sharper perspective. In turn, allowing them to gain insight into their firm’s financial condition and to make sound financial decisions that positively impact revenue flow.
- Analytical Thinking. Any business, regardless of its size, may encounter problems that have the potential to become exceedingly complex. The responsibility of planning a response to such issues falls upon the organization’s leaders. Most business professionals will find that approaching these problems with an analytical mind can be the best way to find practical solutions. This entails using logic to diagnose the true cause of a problem. Then, employing their advanced understanding of business operations to assess and analyze that issue in order to identify the most reasonable course of action.
- Team Leadership. MBA graduates typically have their sights set on management positions or other leadership roles. But before they may qualify for such higher-caliber management positions, business professionals should work towards developing a comprehensive understanding of business leadership principles. An online MBA curriculum covers these principles by touching on leadership topics, such as how to effectively mentor employees, what it takes to set a good example, and most importantly — how to organize their employees in ways that ensure that they can operate at maximum efficiency.
- Systems-Level Thinking. Systems-level thinking is a management discipline that encourages professionals to view systems holistically. This means evaluating how the individual components of a system work together and influence one another. This is different from analytical thinking, which generally focuses on a single issue at a time. Some of the assignments that MBA students encounter throughout their coursework will require that they think systemically. As they continue to think in this manner, their ability to do so should improve organically. With advanced education, MBA graduates may be able to apply systems-level thinking to entire businesses and enterprises, allowing them to discuss the current international marketplace from multiple perspectives.
Common Courses for MBA Students
Here are some common courses that may be offered for this degree. Although the actual course titles can vary depending on the institution, a typical online MBA curriculum should feature the following MBA classes:
Business Ethics. Business professionals can avoid damage to their careers by developing their understanding of how to maintain ethical business practices. This means treating other people fairly and with integrity. It also means adhering to whichever laws and regulations govern their employer’s organization. By participating in a business ethics course, aspiring business people can lessen the risks of struggling to navigate ethical challenges that can arise when professionals abuse their power over others.
An MBA graduate who is properly educated in ethical behaviors can learn the answers to ethical questions regarding personal values, moral behaviors, and how to reasonably accommodate cultural beliefs when doing business. This knowledge can teach MBA graduates how to uphold the rights of their employees, customers, and stakeholders. It can also help them display that they are aware of how to work ethically, making them more desirable to some company recruiters.
Financial Statement Analysis. A financial statement analysis class will teach students how to investigate financial statements to uncover ways a company can improve its performance. Furthermore, students will be shown how financial reports can be used to create a whole perspective of a company’s past, current, and potential performance. This class hinges on providing students with knowledge of how and when to use the following methods of financial statement analysis.
- Method 1
- Horizontal analysis entails comparing financial information over a series of reporting periods, allowing professionals to review finance data from multiple time periods.
- Vertical analysis is the proportional analysis of financial statements, wherein every individual item listed on the statement represents a percentage of total gross sales. This allows professionals to compare the proportion of spending across accounts within a single period.
- Method 2
- In another method, business professionals use an array of ratios to calculate how well the company is performing when compared with industry averages or other baseline factors for setting performance expectations.
MBA students should be able to effectively utilize these financial ratios to optimize financial activities within their respective firms.
Controls for Effective Cyber Defense. Maintaining the integrity of a company’s data should be of utmost importance to business professionals. By learning how to effectively implement cyber defense tactics, MBA students can prepare themselves to help defend their employers’ sensitive data from malicious cyber crime. The most cutting-edge methods for preventing cybercrime are constantly changing. Therefore, business professionals will benefit from continuing their education with an up-to-date class that details the subject. After developing their foundational knowledge of cyber security, they should be able to better understand how to stay on top of learning new cyber defense techniques that emerge following their graduation.
Employment Law and Compliance. Employment laws exist to protect employees from harmful workplace practices. MBA programs are designed to ensure that their graduates understand these laws and how to comply with them, maintaining the designated legal protections for their employees. In most instances, this type of course should detail precisely how managers, supervisors, and executives can legally hire, evaluate, and manage their subordinates.
An employment law and compliance course should specifically convey the importance of complying with the likes of employee benefit requirements, appropriate termination procedures, discrimination laws, and how to resolve employment disputes. Hiring professionals who understand these concepts is very important to administrators, and many firms will even offer to build further upon these concepts by offering their employees compliance courses internally.
The MBA classes that an online MBA curriculum entails are as important as the concentration a student selects when entering such a program. With this in mind, aspiring business professionals should evaluate the proposed coursework for their MBA programs of choice and verify whether they offer the opportunity to develop the skills they will need to actualize their career goals.